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June 15, 2010

Pub Owner Arrested on Worthless Check Charges

John Claude Bodziak, 37, of St. Petersburg, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department on June 14, 2010 on a felony charge related to passing worthless bank checks. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of face value of the worthless checks and investigative costs. Mr. Bodziak owned and operated Jannus Landing Courtyard, Inc. that did business as Jannus Landing and The Pelican Pub of St. Pete, Inc. that did business as Pelican Pub; both locations were located in St. Petersburg and are now closed.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Bodziak collected sales tax from the customers at his two pubs. However, during several periods during 2009, several of the checks he submitted as sales tax payments to the state were dishonored by his bank.

"Most Florida businesses do an excellent job of meeting the state's requirements for collecting and submitting sales tax, which pays for services Floridians need," said Lisa Echeverri, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who collect tax but don't send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses. It's our job to ensure that Florida's tax laws are administered fairly."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Clearwater at 727-507-6305.